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COWBOY UP ~ Get it today!

COWBOY UP is full of cowboys—and cowgirls—and where there are cowboys there are hats…. LOTS of hats… But I’ll let D’Ann Lindun tell us exactly why those Stetsons are so gosh darn popular…


The Story of the Cowboy Hat


D’Ann Lindun

I absolutely despise folded up, taco-resembling straw hats that come from Target or Walmart. People call them cowboy hats, but no self respecting cowboy would be caught dead in one of these.


To me, a cowboy hat is a Resistol, a Bailey or a Stetson.


In a couple of instances, I have used Resistol or Bailey in a story and the editor has asked me to change it to Stetson. They are the most known of the hat brands.

John B. Stetson was born in 1830 in New Jersey, and he worked for his father, who was a hatter. Because his health was poor, John B. Stetson headed to Colorado. On a hunting trip, he made a fur hat because beaver pelt could hold its shape better than fabric.

In 1865, John B. Stetson went back east, to Philadelphia, where he produced hats. Based on that hat he made for his hunting trip, he made his first hat based on his western experiences. It was called “Boss of the Plains”.


Stetson sent a sample hat to merchants throughout the Southwest with a letter asking for an order. Cowboys across the west went crazy for the hat and in less than a year, Stetson had a new factory. His hats were very expensive and a cowboy wearing a Stetson was thought to be doing well.

The shape varied. The shape of the hat’s crown and brim were often modified by being held over hot steam, shaped, and allowed to dry and cool. Felt tends to keep the shape in which it dries. Early cowboys favored high crown and wide brims.

Maybe the reason most people associate a cowboy hat with a Stetson is that by 1886 Stetson’s hat company was the largest in the world, and had mechanized the hat-making industry. In the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, both cowboys and city dwellers wore the Stetson.

Women also wore Stetson hats.

Still do.


Military and police can be found in Stetson hats.


Movie stars and singers wear the brand.

But the most likely place to find one of John B. Stetson’s hats is still on the head of a cowboy or cowgirl.



Find Cowboy Bred, Cowboy Born by D’Ann Lindun as part of the boxed set COWBOY UP

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  1. Just mention that you would love to win a copy of Cowboy Up in the comments and it’s yours!!!!

  2. melissakeir says:

    There is something about a cowboy hat that gets my heart pounding. The big boss hat reminds me of the hat of Hoss on Bonanza. Did you have a favorite show where cowboys wore hats?

  3. Oh, most of my early favorites wore hats–Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger, the Rifle Man, Bonanza, F Troop (where did that come from?) I loved men in hats because they rode horses. Still love men in hats, and D’Ann knows a lot more than I do about the mystique! Great post, D’Ann.

  4. lizaoconnor says:

    I love historical stuff. Thanks, this was very interesting. I’m not sure why going west would have made him better. Maybe NJ was polluted by that time or his father’s factory was poisoning him. Weather wise, unless that has changed, it’s warmer here in the winter and the summers aren’t as hot. I think it had to be that NJ was polluted back then. And most factories were poisonous.

    • melissakeir says:

      And there was an opportunity for men to be more self-made out west. It gave them the freedom to try new ventures and become successful. The East was filled with a caste society and it was who you knew or who you were related to, that made a difference there.

    • D'Ann says:

      Because they believed the dry air of the SW was good for the lungs. Some still do.

  5. Interesting. I really hadn’t known much about Stetson…

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